‘Maps To The Stars’ International Sales Trailer

As I understand it, this isn’t the actual trailer for David Cronenberg’s upcoming “Map To the Stars,” but one cut for the purpose of international sales.  I stumbled upon it–with more than a little help from “The Wrap”–though it makes me wonder why Cronenberg continues to work with Robert Patterson.  If their last film together, “Cosmopolis” was any indicator, we shouldn’t be at all surprised if he delivers a somewhat wooden performance.

Then again, I get the feeling that–as far as Cosmopolis goes–that that was exactly the performance that Cronenberg wanted from him, which is at least reason for some optimism as regards Patterson’s acting chops.

 

 

‘Wish I Were Here,’ Trailer 1

You ever watch a trailer and get the feeling that the director is probably trying to be too artsy?  Well, that’s there feeling that I get from watching “Wish I Were Here,” the latest film from Zach Braff, while also fighting the urge to type, “Wish You Were Here,” which is an awesome song by Pink Floyd, from the album of the same name.

It wasn’t too long ago that Zach Braff made news by partially financing his project through Kickstarter.  At the time some objected to him doing so because Braff is not exactly short of funds, he blazed a trail on Kickstarter that others, such as Spike Lee and Rob Thomas (“Veronica Mars”), would follow to finance their projects.

Donald Faison is also part of the cast, whom I respond fondly from “Scrubs.”

Postmortem: ‘The Happening’

  • Part 1: It’s All About The Benjamins

I imagine that M. Night Shyamalan, coming off the blockbuster success of 1999′s “The Sixth Sense,” thought that he literally ruled the world.  That movie, on a $40 million budget, earned almost $673 million dollars.

His followup,  2000′s “Unbreakable,” cost $75 million to produce, almost doubled the cost of his first film and earned just over $248 million dollars.  While not as wildly successful as “The Sixth Sense,” it was still quite profitable.

His third film, “Signs” was cheaper to produce than “Unbreakable,” at $72 million, but earned over $408 million dollars.

His forth film, 2004′s “The Village” cost $60 million to produce, and earned almost $257 million dollars, but cracks had begun to appear in his armor.  “The Village,” while profitable, had the lowest rating on Rottentomatoes.com rating of any of his prior films, at 43 percent.

Most critics believe that it was little more than an extended Twilight Zone episode, though that’s not quite fair to “The Twilight Zone,” which was significantly better.

His next film was his first flop.  “Lady in the Water,” which cost $70 million to produce, earned only $72 million worldwide.  The studio that released all his films prior to this one, Disney, declined to do so for ‘Water.’   Shyamalan then took the movie to Warner Bros., who in hindsight probably wished he hadn’t because–while it earned back its production costs–wasn’t profitable.

His next film, 2008′s “The Happening” had a remarkably low Rottentomatoes score of 17 percent, which one might understandably equate with box-office disaster, but not in this particular case because  it earned over $163 million dollars.

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‘Bad Johnson’ Review

Bad Johnson movie poster

“I can’t deny that your dick can sell dog shit to a freshly mown lawn.”

                                                                                                          —Josh Nelson

Nothing about Huck Botko‘s “Bad Johnson” feels real–though to be fair it’s is about a man who’s penis decides that life could be better without him, so pretty much the entire “reality” thing is thrown out the window.  Rich Johnson (Cam Gigandet) plays a womanizing man-whore who–though losing his dick–becomes a better person.

Though let’s be honest: There are probably better ways to do so.

And if that weren’t bad enough, his anatomy has somehow become personified in the person of Rick’s Penis (Nick Thune)–Yep.  That’s his name according to IMDB and the film’s credits–a walking, talking personification of libido.

You cannot make this stuff up.

Such an outlandish scenario could be excused if it were really funny (for some reason I imagine a pre-freebasing Richard Pryor as Rich’s Penis.  That would be gold).  But it’s not.  Sure, there are moments when things are amusing, but for a movie about a man who’s penis goes on walkabout, it’s kind of dull.

Though prior to his dick’s attempt to steal the spotlight, the movie’s about Rich, who’s claim to fame was that he would screw virtually anything on two legs, as long as it was female because Rich doesn’t have eyes for the guys.

Though he somehow believes that his penis is the source of his problems–as if it had a mind and a will of its own–and before you know it, it does.

There’s no particular reason given for such a thing to happen.  No bombardment by cosmic rays, no bite from a radioactive dildo; Rich just wishes that his penis were gone, and “poof,” it is.

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‘Expendables 3′ Trailer

The ‘Expendables’ films are somewhat of a guilty pleasure for me in the sense that they remind me of an American muscle car, like the Corvette Stingray.  It might not be state of the art in certain ways, such as engine technology, but it’s surprising the problems that copious amounts of horsepower can solve.

This film is chock full of actors that some might consider relics, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Harrison Ford, yet if the earlier films in the series are any indicator, it will probably manage to hum along pretty well too.

Mel Gibson is in this as well, playing a villain.  Which makes me wonder:  Is there some sort of typecasting going on here?  Every since his very public meltdown, it seems that he more often than not plays a villain.  2012′s “Get The Gringo?”  Criminal.  2013′s “Machete Kills?”  Megalomanicial villain.  2014′s “Expendables 3?”  Seemingly a mega-megalomanical villain.

I don’t know who Gibson’s agent is, but if I were he, I would really begin to start to question their judgement.

Then again, he seemed to be playing a decent sort in Jodie Foster’s 2011 film, “The Beaver,” and we saw how well that worked.

Wesley Snipes is thrown into the mix too, which makes me think he’s perhaps one of the luckiest men on Earth, because most people don’t tend to bounce back so quickly from prison sentences.

‘Phantasm: Ravager’ Trailer

Phantasm: Ravager posterDon Coscarelli’s Phantasm series is very interesting, though not necessarily for good reasons.

The original film that started it all is pretty amazing, but the more sequels that Coscarelli did, the more apparent it became that that he was running out of ideas.

Which is why the latest film, “Phantasm: Ravager” is so interesting.  This time around it’s being helmed not by Coscarelli, but David Hartman, who worked with him on “Bubba Ho-Tep” and “John Dies At The End.”

While I assume that Don Coscarelli is writing, it will be a good thing for someone new to direct.

Besides, if Coscarelli not directing, he’d be free to handle other projects (hopefully Marvel’s Doctor Strange).

Space: 1999 Vs. Space: 1999

Space1999The debate over whether the Year One or Two of Space: 1999 is one that will probably rank relatively low among the questions that plague mankind by their elusiveness.

Unless you happen to be a person that prefers one or the other, in which case the answer is fairly obvious and the question somewhat pointless.

Space: 1999 is the story of Moonbase Alpha, which due to an explosion of its nuclear waste dumps–a hungry Earth, wanting the benefits of nuclear power and minimal risk stored waste products from its production there–is torn from the embrace of Earth’s gravitational field and sent hurling through the cosmos.

The first year of the Alphans exodus was a somber affair, as if in space no one could see you smile.  The show was quite well-written, but somewhat joyless.  And while I understood that there probably isn’t all that much to be happy about being trapped on a runaway moon, there were moments that I got the feeling that these people were either in shock or chronically depressed.

This must have been troubling to the creator and executive producer of the series, Gerry Anderson.  I suspect that he was proud of his show, which he worked created with his former wife, Sylvia.  It was his second series to use people of flesh and blood as opposed to plastic and wire, but I imagine that he was vexed by how stagnant the show felt.

I don’t know what was going through his mind when Sir Lew Grade, head of ITC Entertainment, asked for another season, but his actions were telling.

ITC Logo

  • FRED CLEANS HOUSE

Anderson hired Fred Freiberger, who prior worked on the third and last year of Gene Roddenberry‘s “Star Trek,” to produce.  He came in and cleaned house, changing virtually everything that came before.  Barry Grey’s somewhat contemplative and sombre opening theme was replaced with one that had more immediacy and a tangible sense of adventure by Derek Wadsworth.

Barry Gray’s Space:1999 Year One Opening

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‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Trailer

Can Michael Bay make a movie where buildings aren’t being pulverized?  As a child was he almost hit by a piece of falling masonry, forever embittering him against buildings and their ilk?  I didn’t see “Pain & Gain” but I have to wonder if any were destroyed in that film too.

Though Bay only produced “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, his fingerprints are all over the trailer, at any rate.

And what is William Fichtner (I recently saw him in “Crossing Lines” currently on Netflix.  He’s the best thing in it) doing in this movie, anyway.

‘Hercules’ Trailer 1

Remember the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare?  In the story a tortoise races a hare, which under normal conditions can easily expected to beat such a slow-moving animal.

Though because the hare rests on its laurels, the tortoise is given an opportunity to not only catch up to it, but eventually win the race. It won because the tortoise, despite being slower, was persistent and kept working diligently toward its goal.

The same thing happens with movies, though victory generally goes to the fleet of foot.  For instance, last year Filmdistrict’s “Olympus Has Fallen” beat  “White House Down” to the box office and earned over $161 million.  By the time “White House Down” was released a few months later, many people probably assumed that they had seen it already, since it has virtually the same storyline as “Olympus Has Fallen.”

At the end of the day, “Olympus Had Fallen” was successful, while “White House Down” was not (though that also had something to do with ‘Olympus’ costing half as much to produce).

Some thought that history would repeat itself when Renny Harlin’s “The Legend of Hercules” came out before Brett Ratner’s “Hercules.”

Though despite being first to the gate, Harlin’s film lacked the endurance to complete the race.  Brett Ratner’s version, starring Dwayne Johnson is now at the starting line, though only time will tell if it has what it takes to win.

Postmortem: ‘AVP’


Welcome to “Postmortem,” a feature that goes behind the scenes of some of your favorite films, and asks:  What the heck went wrong?!

Paul W.S. Anderson (the Resident Evil films,  “Soldier,” Event Horizon,” “Pompeii”), if you’ve ever seen him in a interview, like the one above, appears very knowledgable about the films he chooses to direct.  So knowledgeable, in fact, that he makes his film, “AVP” sound like a natural progression in the Alien franchise.

Yet when you actually watch the movie, it quickly becomes apparent that something went wrong somewhere along the way.

One of the (many) things that bothered me about “AVP” was that it took place in Antartica, which actually makes sense if you listen to Anderson’s explanation.  He said, essentially, that many regions of the world that are cold now weren’t always that way, and the region where the Predators trained their hunters was originally tropical.

I get it, but considering that the first two Predator films spent a whole bunch of time establishing that the Predators were drawn to hot climates and conflict, why place the pyramid in a place that’s cold?

Primarily Anderson said that he wanted to evoke the desolate look of the first film–which took place in space.  I get that too, though the implication is that you couldn’t do the same thing in ahotter climate, which isn’t the case.

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